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Grassley against hearing for Supreme Court nominee

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa -- Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley stopped Monday afternoon in Ocheyedan on his annual tour of Iowa's 99 counties to receive feedback from constituents. Grassley took a number of questions regarding his oppositi...

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (right) listens during a town hall meeting Monday in Ocheyedan, Iowa. Robin Baumgarn/Daily Globe

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa - Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley stopped Monday afternoon in Ocheyedan on his annual tour of Iowa’s 99 counties to receive feedback from constituents. Grassley took a number of questions regarding his opposition to having a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland along with a question on measures against the Islamic State and a halt on Muslim immigrants.

Grassley said rather than supporting a hearing for Garland he’d rather focus efforts on something more “fruitful” since Congress would likely not approve him with a Republican majority.
“In other words, you’re stalling,” a woman in the crowd replied.

“I’m doing what has been a general consideration of senators over a long period of time that when you have a lame duck president who can do his job, and he’s going to do his job, of appointing,” Grassley said. “When you have a lame duck president, people over a long period of time have said the people should have a voice and should carry over to the new president to make the choice. So the bottom line of it is, the president will do what the Constitution says he’s going to do - and he’s got every right to do it. And we’re going to do what the Constitution says we can do.”
Grassley said the Republican stance of not holding a hearing is part of “checks and balances,” explaining Congress could consent, not consent or withhold consent. After many questions on the subject, Grassley remained steadfastly against having a hearing for Garland.
One man in the audience pointed out that Congress had not done so since 1875. Grassley said that was the third different date he’d heard in his tour so far, the others being in 1916 and in the 1950s. Regardless of which date, it has been an extended period of time since Congress refused to even have a hearing for a potential candidate. Another in the crowd asked Grassley to “be a leader” and put politics aside and do his job.
“He is doing his job, and we appreciate it,” Kevin Hertz of Ocheyedan said, to applause.

Islamic State
Grassley was asked his stance on the United States sending troops to combat Islamic State in Syria.
“What we’re doing right now, I support,” Grassley replied. “... I think what we’re doing right now we have to continue to do, and I think we are having some success at it.”

Immigration
Grassley was asked if he supported Donald Trump’s plan for a temporary halt on Muslim immigrants from entering the United States in light of the Brussels attack.
“From Syria and Iraq, we ought to halt until we get our intelligence community to verify … so that they can’t bring people in under the umbrella of refugees,” Grassley stated. “This would never be an issue, and this isn’t based upon religion. This is based on where they’re coming from and the fact that our enemies there have said they want to sneak terrorists in under the refugee program. If they hadn’t said that, there’d be no change. It’s not based on religion, it’s based on threat to our national security.”
Grassley said he hopes to get to vote on the subject but is not sure if it will be raised in the Senate. He added he didn’t think an immigration bill would reach the floor without it being a comprehensive immigration bill, and since Congress can’t even pass Kate’s Law, a law that would impose a five-year mandatory sentence for undocumented aliens who are deported and return to the U.S., it wasn’t likely to happen.

Related Topics: U.S. SUPREME COURT
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